Source: Northern Cape Provincial Government
Title: Selao: Debate on State of Province Address
Speech by Northern Cape MEC for Health, ES Selao, at the debate on the State of the Province Address (SOPA), at the Provincial Legislature
Premier Dipuo Peters
Colleagues and honourable members
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our Premier for her mid term SOPA.
Once more she has laid a firm understanding and basis for our progress to a better life for all. Her characterisation of our challenges and the work at hand will indeed assist us as government going forward.
We have started this year with a clarion call from both our movement and government to deepen national debate in order to advance the national discourse on social transformation.
This is a call for all our people to renew their commitment to the "people's contract". It is a call for our people to immerse both their minds and hands in the national discourse and thereby deepen democracy.
The ruling party seems to have set the cat among the pigeons with the call to look at renaming our province and many other places with offensive names. By so doing it has put on the table for debate a matter that expresses the birth pains of the humane and dignified society that we want to build. It is a society that should express the essence of our being both in form and content.
Fortunately it has already enabled us as a province to achieve a head start in promoting national dialogue and engagement. We have seen many even amongst the opposition benches responding with vigour but in opposition to this call.
By its nature national engagement is robust and sometimes scathing, but nothing that was created as a scornful reminder of oppression should be regarded as sacrosanct in a democracy.
Any new nation must also create its own identity and pride through branding its heritage and history.
With the establishment of the provincial geographic names committee we trust that proper processes will soon be put in place to promote dialogue on all these matters that seek to define who we are.
As a democratic government in a truly open society the voices of the people are the grounds on which stands the edifice of our new nation.
Our Premier has called on the people of the Northern Cape to join hands with government to deal with all matters that are quiet pertinent to the strengthening of our provincial brand and nation building.
The people of our province, particularly those of San decent and those whose forebears fought in the wars of resistance, are particularly happy about the dignified reburials of their traditional leaders who inspired the struggle for freedom.
A unique intervention in redirecting us, in the Premier's address, is the social re-engineering of an inclusive society as opposed to a society of division and social gradation. It is the emphasis that was placed on the rebuilding of our common humanity and common dignity.
The following critical points can also be elicited from the address of the Premier:
* government will put special emphasis on service delivery improvement in order to enhance the quality of life of our people
* co-operation of government across all spheres will be strengthened to improve delivery including addressing matters of equity at the level of local government in particular
• greater attention will be given towards matters of managerial competencies within the public service
• that all of us make a positive contribution towards the creation of sustainable livelihoods for all, both public and private sector
• all of us should work towards the promotion of healthy lifestyles and combating Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV and AIDS
• all of us should work together towards the realisation of a society of shared prosperity through job creation and the provision of skills including jobs and opportunities for special groups such as women, youth and the disabled
• lastly but not least, all of us should acknowledge our common history by honouring the unsung heroes and chiefs such as Chief Toto who fought in the wars of resistance.
I am certain that none of us can conclude that only these few points that I have chosen to highlight do not indicate that for the forthcoming financial year government has a Programme of Action that responds to the imperatives of our society.
Indeed we say all of us should work towards these objectives because they are provincial and national goals, many of which expresses our aspirations enshrined in the constitution.
As the Northern Cape we have so much to celebrate as we debate Premier's mid-term SOPA. Among others since 2004 we have achieved the following:
• a steady decline in the number of serious crimes, especially contact crimes even exceeding our own expectations in the last 12 months
• adopted and incrementally implemented a provincial and development strategy that enjoys the support of all our social partners
* built stronger partnerships with the private sector and as a result creating opportunities for employment for our people
* a steady stabilisation of the prevalence of HIV and AIDS as we observed a declining rate of infection here in the Northern Cape
• increased access to primary healthcare by people across our province
• we have strengthened the reach of our social security network through the extensive reach of our social security network.
Many of these things go a long way in building cohesive families and communities which is a subject that correctly pre-occupied the SOPA.
To restore the social fabric of our society we need to build families in the true sense of the word not only through blood ties. Our faith-based organisations (FBOs), traditional healers, youth formations and all have to lend a hand in partnering with government to bring about family orientated society that will enjoy a better life.
And so it is important that emphasis should be placed on our honourable Premiers statement, "Our people need to understand that the social fabric and our values are predominantly built through the family environment we create for ourselves and our children."
The goal of the African National Congress (ANC) led government is to create a South Africa in which we can all experience an improving quality of life, enjoying equal human rights with access to opportunities that freedom has brought and bound us together as a nation.
Honourable speaker, it is without doubt true that as we mark the mid term of the third democratic government we cannot say we are without challenges. But we can state that the progress we have made far outweighs the shortcomings.
The shortcomings are the challenges which we define in the Programme of Action of government. It is our collective challenges as a province, particularly that of drastically reducing unemployment so that our people remain full of hope.
As a government we remain concerned about the impact of alcohol abuse in our communities. Years of systematic oppression and neglect has created a legacy of hopelessness.
Many of our people attempt to drown their sorrows through the abuse of alcohol and other substances. This is not only harmful to their health but actually reproduces poverty in our communities.
Furthermore, in most instances there is a direct correlation between the abuse of alcohol and the violent crimes that taint our being as humans.
We need to look closely at the role of those in the business of selling liquor in terms of their social responsibility in our communities.
It is also important that we look at the critical work that we continue to do as government pertaining to curbing the spread of HIV and AIDS and its management in relation to disease such as tuberculosis (TB).
If the cases of HIV prevalence escalate then TB will continue to cause havoc in our communities.
The comprehensive management of these diseases is critical especially considering that we have many multi-drug resistance (MDR) TB cases and already about seven recorded cases of extreme drug resistance (XDR) TB.
Hence we launched our provincial TB Management Plan last year in June responding among others also to the Afro Region World Health Organisations (WHOs) call to declare TB a crisis in the sub-Sahara.
Government continues to conduct surveillance to detect any new cases. Collectively we have a responsibility to ensure that our people take their health serious, those on treatment follows their prescribed regiment strictly.
It is pleasing to note as stated in the SOPA that government will continue to strengthen its nutrition programmes in order to enable people to eat healthy and follow their prescription regiments in the case where they are required to do so.
The elimination of diseases and the fight against hunger and poverty is also about restoring the dignity of many of our people who have been subjected to poverty and therefore the vulnerability to disease such as TB.
Government is committed to create a society in which human needs will be addressed to the best of our ability, so that all of us live a life of dignity.
Our people should never again fall in the abyss of hopelessness, in the words of a popular American author "when hope is taken away from a people, moral degeneration follows swiftly after". Today we say this shall never be made to pass again.
As the ruling party we have no intention of failing our historic mission of building a united democratic and prosperous nation, a nation of people who stand tall and dignified, proud of whom they are in the global family of the human race.
I thank you!
Issued by: Department of Health, Northern Cape Provincial Government
20 February 2007
Last Modified: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 13:50:00 SAST